Along with the desire for the ultimate preset, a short cut to Photoshop, the secrets of 'Adobe Lightroom' and all the supposed shortcuts in Photography, I see a lot of articles about getting to the 'Manual Mode' setting on a camera.
With promises of amazing control and photos, does switching to this mode really help? Well it can.
A typical DSLR has several modes, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority etc etc etc and all of them have a use. So what about manual mode? is this the pinnacle of becoming a photographer?
Whereas for example Aperture Priority, reduces this down to one thing to control which leaves more effort to actually focus on taking a good, well composed and pleasing photo.
Example 1: I want to take a landscape photo, I set the Aperture to say f11, ISO to 100 and the shutter speed to 1/100 and take a photo. It looks nice. The exposure based on the current light looks nice, until I get home and check it on my laptop, I will not be sure.
Example 2: I want to take a landscape photo, I put the camera into Aperture priority mode, set the Aperture to f11 and take a photo. I let the camera worry about the shutter speed and the ISO. The exposure has been handled by the camera so I can focus on my angles and everything else.
Do not be fooled into thinking that all the best photographers use 'Manual Mode' and that all the best photos are shot in this mode. Manual mode is just another setting for a purpose on your camera. Understand composition, light, and exposure first before playing with this mode then experiment.